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Half a million Steelhead released into Feather River

A life saving effort has come to fruition one year later.

Posted: Feb 13, 2018 5:59 PM
Updated: Feb 14, 2018 9:37 AM

Chico, Calif. -- A life saving effort has come to fruition one year later.

While the Oroville Dam spillway affected thousands, it wasn't just the people who were in danger.

Nearly one million Steelhead eggs became endangered as well.


"We immediately started figuring the steps we needed to take to evacuate the fish and at the same time we're dealing with the eggs inside the hatchery building," said David Lunsford, a Fish and Wildlife Technician.

Silt and debris overwhelmed the hatchery system following the spillway failure.

"We were all scrambling around trying to save the Steelhead and the Chinook that we had here at that time," said Lunsford.

With less than 72 hours to complete fixes on aeration and filtration systems, the engineers went to work.

"We got the turbidity down, which is all the silt," said Lunsford. 

The engineers then needed to find a way to purify the city water so they installed charcoal filters.

"We ran into the chlorine issue, it's very bad for fish," said Lunsford.

"This is the beginning of the fish release process, what's going on is we're taking the fish down to where they can be sucked up by these giant vacuums," Harry Morse, Public Information Officer of the California Department Fish and Wildlife.

Throughout the next few days, hatchery trucks will be transporting and releasing the rescued fish on the Feather River, just near Yuba City.

"A year ago at this time, we didn't know if any of the fish would survive, if the eggs would make it through. And it all came to fruition," said Morse.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 324543

Reported Deaths: 7051
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1335493809
Riverside24765537
Orange24715423
San Diego19371422
San Bernardino19043306
Fresno828288
Imperial7827135
Alameda7731148
Kern650297
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Tulare5678152
Sacramento548983
Stanislaus473251
Contra Costa466190
San Francisco452250
Ventura424653
San Mateo3949112
Santa Barbara393131
Marin343430
Kings291839
Monterey268218
Solano207528
Merced188412
Sonoma170316
Placer107711
San Luis Obispo9054
Madera8938
Yolo88428
Santa Cruz5693
Napa4774
Sutter3884
San Benito3622
Butte3384
Lassen3370
El Dorado3070
Shasta1956
Yuba1923
Humboldt1654
Glenn1640
Nevada1631
Colusa1130
Mendocino1130
Lake1081
Tehama1071
Tuolumne730
Calaveras670
Del Norte600
Mono511
Siskiyou410
Amador400
Inyo351
Mariposa311
Plumas170
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Chico
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Oroville
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There is a Red Flag Warning in Modoc county today until 8pm with temperatures getting as hot as 110 degrees for some in the Valley by Wednesday.
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